Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Alan Wong
Occupation: President/Owner of Alan Wong’s Restaurants
Hometown: Honolulu, HI
Residence: Honolulu, HI
College: Kapiolani Community College
College major: Culinary Arts
Facebook: Alan Wong
Short bio: In the world of gourmet cooking, critically acclaimed Chef Alan Wong is well-known for his unique creative flair. A renowned master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Chef Wong has made a highly-successful career out of marrying elements of different ethnic cooking styles using the finest Island-grown ingredients. As his Asian roots combine with his French culinary background, east and west cuisines do not merely meet—they meld.
In 1994, Chef Wong was named one of “13 Rising Star Chefs in America” by the Robert Mondavi Winery for his culinary excellence. He is a James Beard Award-winner for “Best Chef, Pacific Northwest 1996.” Sante magazine for Wine and Spirits named him “Chef of the Year 2001,” and the Inaugural 2001 Wedgewood Awards nominated him as one of 10 U.S. chefs for the title of “World Master of Culinary Arts.” In 2003, Bon Appetit recognized Chef Wong among its culinary legends as the “Master of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.” StarChefs awarded Chef Wong with the “Mentor Chef” award in 2012 in their first-ever Hawaii review. The American Academy of Chefs inducted Chef Wong into their Hall of Fame as a “Celebrated Chef” in 2013.
Alan Wong’s Restaurant opened in April of 1995 and in 1996 it received a James Beard Foundation nomination for the nation’s “Best New Restaurant.” It was honored in Gourmet’s October 2001 issue, ranking #6 of “America’s Best 50 Restaurants” and in 2002 was inducted into Nation’s Restaurant News’ Hall of Fame. In its May 2006 issue, Food and Wine included the restaurant among its “The Go List of 376 Hottest Restaurants in the World” and in that same year was again the only Hawaii restaurant to be ranked among “America’s Best 50 Restaurants” (#8) by Gourmet. It is a ten-time winner of the Hale Aina Award as the state’s “Restaurant of the Year.” Voted by the Ilima Awards as Hawaii’s “Best Restaurant” for nine years, Alan Wong’s Restaurant was inducted into its inaugural “Star Circle” established for ten-time
winners in 2008. Today, the restaurant continues to receive top ratings in Zagat, Gault Millau and Wine Spectator.
How often do you fly? As often as business requires. Every other month or so.
How many countries have you been to? 31
How many continents have you been to? 5
Earliest travel memory: Coming to Hawaii from Tokyo in 1961 with my mom and my sister.
Favorite American city: Honolulu, Hawaii.
Favorite international city: Tokyo, Japan.
Least favorite country: Haven’t been to a country that I haven’t enjoyed yet.
I have no desire to go to: North Korea.
Friendliest people in the world: Honolulu, Hawaii!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I’ve been lucky and have never experienced mean immigration officers.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Great Wall of China or Jeju Island where I went diving with the Haenyo (women divers).
Favorite airline: Hawaiian Airlines.
Favorite aircraft type: I don’t have a specific favorite, but the seats that recline fully are helpful when flying long distances with a full day of business ahead of you.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Japan Airlines.
Favorite U.S. airport: San Francisco International Airport.
Favorite international airport: Singapore Changi Airport.
Favorite hotel: Raffles Singapore.
Favorite cruise line: Crystal Cruises.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express.
Favorite island: Kauai, Hawaii.
Favorite beach: Waimea Beach, Oahu, Hawaii.
Favorite National Park: Yosemite National Park.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Geranium ApS in Denmark.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Side Street Inn, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Favorite airport restaurant: Kihachi in Haneda.
Favorite bar: Lewers Lounge in the Halekulani in Waikiki.
Favorite fruit: Watermelon.
Favorite food: Mom’s cooking.
Least favorite food: Innards.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Water or tea.
Favorite travel show(s): Bizarre Foods, No Reservations or Chef’s Table.
Favorite travel book(s): Michelin guidebooks.
Right now I am reading: “Your Guide to Health with Foods and Herbs” by Zhang Yifang.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Departures, Virtuoso, Travel + Leisure.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Seawind Tours and Travel’s website.
5 things you bring on a plane: iPad, headphones, books, magazines, water.
What do you always seem to forget? Personal hydroflask for water.
What do you like least about travel? Rude and loud people.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Food from that country.
Favorite travel app(s): Weather and Air Matters.
Most embarrassing travel moment: Haven’t had one.
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Paris, France.
Worst travel moment: Traveling to a guest chef event in Macau when we had to turn around and come back to Honolulu due to an onboard emergency. We had to get booked on another flight and experience a 12-hour layover in Manila. While I enjoyed my first time in the Manila airport, we were worried about the execution of our event.
What’s your dream destination? Portugal or India.
Best travel tip: I like to wear a light jacket with lots of pockets that have zippers. I put everything in my pockets and zip them shut before walking through security. It makes it easier to only have one thing to take off and pick up.